Annual Report

PRB Mission

The Population Reference Bureau informs people around the world about population, health, and the environment, and empowers them to use that information to advance the well-being of current and future generations.

PRB analyzes complex demographic data and research to provide the most objective, accurate, and up-to-date population information in a format that is easily understood by advocates, journalists, and decisionmakers alike.


PRB builds coalitions and conducts workshops around the world to give our key stakeholders the tools they need to understand and communicate effectively about population issues.


PRB works to ensure that policymakers in developing countries and in the United States rely on sound evidence, rather than anecdotal or outdated information, when developing population, health, and environmental policies.

Core Themes

Children & Families
Global Health
Population &
the Environment

PRB’s work is funded by private foundations, government agencies, and individual donors, and we frequently collaborate with other nonprofit organizations and universities. To these partnerships, PRB brings broad expertise and innovative, cost-effective approaches to analysis, information sharing, and capacity building.


In late September 2015, as PRB’s operating year drew to a close, world leaders convened in New York to adopt the United Nations Agenda for Sustainable Development, which will guide national policy actions through 2030.

The Agenda’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals target significant progress in reducing poverty, hunger, social inequities, and environmental risks, and advancing human health, education, and sustainable growth. The leaders also agreed to measure progress by a range of specific indicators.

How does this relate to PRB? The global goals have strong overlaps with our core issue areas in population, health, and the environment. And the countries’ commitment to rigorous measurement will require careful analysis, interpretation, and synthesis of underlying data—a core element of the work we do at PRB.

The year brought several examples of how our work informs policy dialogue and decisions. Many are described in the Project Highlights section of this report, including:

  • Groundbreaking research to catalogue a looming threat from noncommunicable diseases in Africa.
  • An in-depth analysis yielding an estimate that over half a million women and girls in the United States have either undergone or are at risk of female genital mutilation/cutting.
  • County-level support for partners in Kenya that led to the adoption of budget line items for family planning programs.
  • Awards for health journalists who participated in PRB media training programs.
We will continue to provide impartial, data-driven knowledge and strengthen the capacity of others to use this knowledge to advance the well-being of current and future generations.

And, during this first full year of my tenure as president of PRB, we took steps to ensure sustained achievement in the future: Our senior leadership team added new members who broaden our capacity for innovation. A new strategy to enhance PRB’s impact moved into full swing. And we adopted an organizational monitoring, learning, and evaluation program to better gauge PRB’s performance.

But our focus is not changing. We will continue to provide impartial, data-driven knowledge and strengthen the capacity of others to use this knowledge to advance the well-being of current and future generations.

I believe the new priorities set by the world community point to an active role for PRB in 2016 and beyond, in support of academics, advocates,

PRB Senior Leadership Team
Left to Right: Susan Rich, VP Global Partnerships; Viresh Desai, CFO; Jeffrey Jordan, President and CEO; Linda Jacobsen, VP U.S. Programs; Peter Goldstein, VP Communications and Marketing; Barbara Seligman, VP International Programs

decisionmakers, funders, researchers, and the media. Indeed, significant multiyear awards recently received from the United States Agency for International Development for the PACE project, and from the U.S. Census Bureau to provide data user support services, reflect confidence in PRB’s ability to deliver consistent value.

Finally, I would like to extend my deepest thanks and appreciation to three departing members of PRB’s Board of Trustees: Margaret Neuse, who served as Board chair, Elizabeth Chacko, and Michael Wright. Their contributions extended well beyond their Board responsibilities, and their valuable input will be missed.


President and CEO, PRB


Number of
PRB staff
Number of countries
where PRB conducted
field work
Visits to the PRB
website, up 54%
from 2014
PRB information products completed, including: 10 data sheets, 30 fact sheets, 11 videos, 18 policy briefs, 19 reports, 5 data visualizations, 23 web articles, and 8 webinars
Researchers, journalists, policy advocates, and others who participated in PRB capacity strengthening activities



Making data and research accessible
Identifying New
Health Challenges
on Women’s
Measuring Risks
to Girls and Women
In the United States


Helping others understand and communicate evidence
to Engage Policymakers
Making Sense
of Data
The American Community
Survey Data Users Group
Creating Communities
of Practice
The Demographic Dividend


Fostering real-world impact
Moving the
Policy Needle
Family Planning in Kenya
to Impact Policy
IN Nigeria


Kristin Bietsch
Research Associate, International Programs
Candi Carpenter
Executive Assistant to the President
Hanna Christianson
Program Assistant,
International Programs
Elizabeth Gay
Policy Analyst,
International Programs
“I chose PRB for the unique opportunity to bridge the gap between research and policy. I feel strongly that research is only useful if it makes it into the hands of the right people. My work helps researchers connect with decisionmakers and those who can influence policy. For example, the U.S. Policy Communication Training Program prepares young researchers to share the policy relevance of their results. It's great to see how their thinking and approach transforms over the workshop and throughout the year.”
Peter Goldstein
VP, Communications and Marketing
“I am helping PRB carve out its niche in addressing gender.”
- Elizabeth Neason
Aasha Jackson
PRB Policy Fellow at USAID
“Research is only useful if it makes it into the hands of the right people.”
- Elizabeth Gay
Nicole Lagrone
Program Assistant,
International Programs
Elizabeth Neason
Senior Program Director, Gender/Field Support, International Programs
“I am helping PRB carve out its niche in addressing gender in international development by identifying some of the areas where we can gather foundational material and help move specific subsectors of gender forward to improve health, family planning, and reproductive health outcomes. We need to ensure that women and girls have a voice when it comes to reproductive health.”
Anneka Van Scoyoc
Communications Associate, International Programs
Barbara Seligman
VP, International Programs
Angeline Siparo
Regional Advisor for East Africa, International Programs
“Our work brings value, whether it is information to be used for advocacy or training media partners.”
- Angeline Siparo
“I am passionate about saving the lives of mothers and children. I would like everyone to have a choice in the number of children to have, when to have these children, and how to experience a safe childbirth. I am thankful that all our work brings value to the constituencies we work with, whether it is information to be used for advocacy, working with host governments to change policies, or training media partners.”
Alicia VanOrman
Research Associate, U.S. Programs
“I saw an opportunity at PRB to apply my knowledge about families and children along with my data and analytic skills in a way that could directly impact family and child well-being. I think accurate data can help solve social problems, but it’s important to understand the limitations and how to use data correctly. Working at PRB allows me to be involved in connecting useful research to a variety of audiences while also providing the resources and training to support our partners in carrying out their missions. I get great satisfaction when KIDS COUNT grantees contact us and I am able to help them get the information they’re looking for.”
“I think accurate data can help solve social problems.”
- Alicia VanOrman


For the fiscal year ended September 30, 2015
2015 Revenues by Source
Expense Ratio
Ninety-four cents of every dollar raised by PRB goes to fund our program activities.
Cash and cash equivalents $2,857,467
Grants and contracts receivable 271,020
Prepaid expenses and other
current assets
Total current assets 3,276,379
Furniture and equipment 656,745
Leasehold improvements 840,656
Less—accumulated depreciation
and amortization
Net property and equipment 485,473
Long-term investments 8,290,043
Total assets $12,051,895
Accounts payable and other
accrued expenses
Accrued compensation 179,721
Deferred dues and subscriptions 25,150
Deferred rent 50,547
Advances received for grants
and contracts
Total current liabilities 2,476,875
Long-term deferred rent 746,735
Total liabilities 3,223,610
Unrestricted 250,000
Unrestricted—Board/designated 8,521,405
Permanently restricted 56,880
Total net assets 8,828,285
Total liabilities and net assets $12,051,895
Unrestricted Permanently
U.S. Government $4,808,486 $ - $4,808,486
Foundations 5,185,215 - 5,185,215
Interest and dividends 263,816 - 263,816
Contributions 95,681 - 95,681
Dues and subscriptions 56,800 - 56,800
Sale of publications 16,229 - 16,229
Total revenues 10,426,227 - 10,426,227
International programs 7,383,241 - 7,383,241
Communications 1,261,677 - 1,261,677
Domestic programs 1,305,296 - 1,305,296
Total program services 9,950,214 - 9,950,214
Management and general 502,181 - 502,181
Fundraising 114,911 - 114,911
Total supporting services 617,092 - 617,092
Total expenses 10,567,306 - 10,567,306
Decrease in net assets
before net realized and
unrealized losses
(141,079) - (141,079)
Net realized and unrealized
losses on investments
(462,455) - (462,455)
Change in net assets (603,534) - (603,534)
Net assets, beginning of year 9,374,939   56,880 9,431,819
Net assets, end of year $8,771,405 $56,880 $8,828,285
Full audited financial statements are available upon request.


Sources of Support
  • Annie E. Casey Foundation
  • Appalachian Regional Commission
  • Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments
  • AstraZeneca Young Health Programme
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
  • Brandon Roberts + Associates, LLC
  • Charities Aid Foundation
  • Department for International Development of the United Kingdom
  • Ford Foundation
  • Girl Scout Research Institute
  • National Institute on Aging
  • William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
  • David and Lucile Packard Foundation
  • Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health
  • Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
  • United States Agency for International Development
  • United States Census Bureau
  • Wallace Global Fund

Contributions from the individuals listed below allowed PRB to fund essential program expansion and organizational innovations during the year. If you would like to help us continue to inform, empower, and advance, please visit the donations page on our website.

  • Michael Allen
  • Albert F. Anderson
  • James Avery
  • Christine A. Bachrach
  • Lee L. Bean
  • Patricia C. Becker
  • Michelle Behr
  • Tony Beilenson
  • Floyd Robert Bielski
  • Jane K. Boorstein
  • Warren Y. Brockelman
  • William P. Butz
  • James R. Carter
  • Julie A. Caswell
  • George P. Cernada*
  • Joel E. Cohen
  • Edward J. Cohn
  • Donald A. Collins
  • Barbara B. Crane
  • George Dailey
  • Mark Davis
  • Robert A. Davis
  • Gordon Dejong
  • Carol De Vita
  • Dixie D. Dickenson
  • Peter J. Donaldson
  • Marriner & Leni Eccles*
  • Bert T. Edwards
  • Paul & Anne Ehrlich
  • Ward Elliott
  • David & Sonja H. Ellis
  • Eldon Enger
  • Sarah G. Epstein
  • Laurence & Carol L. Falk
  • H.K. Faulkner
  • Dottie Ferrell
  • Linda Fiorey
  • John J. Flynn
  • Gayle D. Fogelson
  • Bruce Forster
  • Kathryn A. Foster
  • Milann Gannaway
  • Alene Gelbard
  • Linda W. Gordon
  • Jennifer L. Greene
  • Alyson Greiner
  • Richard Grossman
  • Edward Guay
  • Kenneth Haddock
  • Joyce Hakahara
  • Thomas Hall
  • Brice Harris
  • Philip Harvey
  • Daniel Hebding
  • Judith Herzfeld
  • Jack A. Hollon
  • Edwin & Janet W. House
  • Sherry F. Huber*
  • Michael Hughes
  • John Iceland
  • Robin D. Ikeda
  • Hank Imus
  • Eleanor Iselin
  • Brad Jokisch
  • Elise F. Jones
  • Jeffrey Neil Jordan
  • J. Eric Juterbock
  • Jeremy & Marine Kaplan
  • William Kurtz
  • Brian Larson
  • Milton Lehman
  • McCoy Livingston
  • Juanita Tamayo Lott
  • Terri Ann Lowenthal
  • David Maddox
  • Jaqueline S. Majewski
  • Alfred C. Maldonado
  • James B. Martin-Schramm
  • Andrew Marvel Family Trust*
  • Myron G. Max
  • John F. May
  • Scott C. McDonald
  • Mary C. McEniry
  • Dwight J. Mellema
  • Thomas W. Merrick*
  • Robert T. Moline
  • Ronald Mollick
  • William D. Mosher
  • Eugene Mulligan
  • Steve H. Murdock
  • Charles B. Nam
  • R. T. Neher
  • Margaret Neuse*
  • Mark Oberle
  • A. R. Palmer
  • Laurel A. Panser
  • Patricia L. Parker
  • Clyde Phillips III
  • Webster P. Phillips
  • David Plane
  • Dudley L. Poston
  • Marie D. Price
  • Ladislav Rabusic
  • Peter A. Roberts
  • Ricardo R. Rodriguiz
  • Harry M. Rosenberg
  • John A. Ross
  • James Rubenstein
  • Richard H. Sander
  • Karen P. Schaefer
  • Victor J. Schoenbach
  • Peter Seidel
  • Frances J. Seymour
  • Arthur Siegel
  • Frank W. Sinden
  • Stanley K. Smith
  • Dick Solomon
  • Lee & Byron Stookey
  • Te Hsiung Sun
  • Philip & Felicity Taubman
  • James W. Thompson
  • Stephen J. Tordella
  • Barbara Boyle Torrey*
  • Pietronella van den Oever
  • Jean van der Tak*
  • Eric A. Wagner
  • Bonnie & Dirk Walters
  • Elaine S. Webster
  • John R. Weeks
  • Mary Beth Weinberger
  • Jesse Wells
  • Carolyn West
  • Michael J. White
  • Jo Lynne Whiting
  • Mary Louise Williams
  • Charles V. Willie
  • George M. Woodwell
  • Michael Wright
  • Gooloo S. Wunderlich
  • Clarence J. Wurdock
  • Kazimierz J. Zaniewski
  • H.G. Ziegenfuss

* Denotes contribution of $1,000 or more.
Contributors and Sources of Support during fiscal year ending September 2015.


PRB had the opportunity to collaborate with the following organizations during 2015:

  • African Institute for Development Policy
  • Ahfad University for Women, Sudan
  • Alexandria High Institute for Public Health, Egypt
  • Aspen Institute
  • Association Béninoise pour la Promotion de la Famille
  • Association of Population Centers
  • AstraZeneca Young Health Programme
  • Blue Ventures
  • CARE
  • Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative
  • Civil Society-Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria
  • CU Population Center, University of Colorado Boulder
  • Developing Radio Partners
  • Direction de la Santé de la Mère et l’Enfant, Ministère de la Santé, Bénin
  • Direction de la Santé de la Reproduction et de la Survie de l’Enfant, Ministère de la Santé et de l’Action Sociale, Senegal
  • Egypt National Population Council
  • Egyptian Family Health Society
  • EMINENCE, Bangladesh
  • Ethiopian Economic Association
  • Family Planning Association of Malawi
  • FHI 360
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health, Johns Hopkins University
  • George Washington University
  • Global Women’s Institute
  • Grassroots Alliance for Community Education—G.R.A.C.E. Africa, Kenya
  • Hopkins Population Center, Johns Hopkins University
  • ICF International
  • Institute for Reproductive Health, Georgetown University
  • Institute of International Education, New York and Addis Ababa
  • Institut National de la Statistique et d’Analyse Economique du Bénin
  • Instituto Promundo
  • International Center for Research on Women
  • Kenya Center for the Study of Adolescence
  • Kenya Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Kenya Division of Reproductive Health, Ministry of Health
  • Kenya Inter-Religious Council
  • Kenya National AIDS and STI Control Programme
  • Kenya National Council for Population and Development, Ministry of Devolution and Planning
  • Kenya Nutrition Division, Ministry of Health
  • Michigan Center on the Demography of Aging, University of Michigan
  • Ministère du Développement, de l’Analyse Economique et de la Prospective, Direction des Politiques et Programmes en Population, Bénin
  • Ministry of Economic Planning and Development, Development Division, Population Department, Malawi
  • Ministry of Youth and Sports, Malawi
  • National Population Council of Ghana
  • National Youth Council of Malawi
  • The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research
  • Nigeria Nutrition Division, Department of Family Health, Federal Ministry of Health
  • Ouagadougou Partnership
  • PAI
  • Palladium
  • Pan American Health Organization
  • Pan Arab Project for Family Health of the League of Arab States
  • Pathfinder International
  • PHE Ethiopia Consortium
  • Population and Sustainability Network
  • Population Association of America
  • Population Council
  • Population Studies and Research Institute, University of Nairobi
  • Research Council of Norway
  • Sabre Systems, Inc.
  • Scaling Up Nutrition—Kenya Civil Society Alliance
  • Sierra Club, Population and Environment Program
  • Uganda Radio Network
  • Women Deliver
  • Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
  • Worldwatch Institute


  • MARGARET NEUSE, Chair of the Board, Independent Consultant, Washington, D.C.
  • STANLEY SMITH, Vice Chair of the Board, Professor Emeritus and Population Program Director, Bureau of Economic and Business Research, University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla.*
  • ELIZABETH CHACKO, Secretary of the Board, Associate Professor of Geography and International Affairs, Chair, Department of Geography, The George Washington University, Washington, D.C.
  • RICHARD F. HOKENSON, Treasurer of the Board, Senior Managing Director and Partner, Evercore ISI, New York, N.Y.
  • JEFFREY JORDAN, President and Chief Executive Officer, Population Reference Bureau, Washington, D.C.
  • CHRISTINE A. BACHRACH, Research Professor, Department of Sociology and Maryland Population Research Center, University of Maryland, College Park, Md.
  • BERT T. EDWARDS, Retired Partner, Arthur Andersen LLP and former Assistant Secretary/CFO, U.S. State Department, Washington, D.C.
  • PARFAIT M. ELOUNDOU-ENYEGUE, Professor, Development, Sociology, and Demography, and Associate Director, Cornell Population Program, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.
  • AMANDA GLASSMAN, Director, Global Health Policy and Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development, Washington, D.C.
  • ROBERT M. GROVES, Provost and Gerard Campbell Professor, Department of Mathematics and Statistics and Department of Sociology, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
  • SCOTT C. MCDONALD, President, Nomos Research, New York, N.Y.
  • SUSAN E. MCGREGOR, Assistant Professor, Journalism and Assistant Director, Tow Center of Digital Journalism, Columbia University, New York, N.Y.
  • ELIZABETH SCHOENECKER, Former Chief, Policy, Evaluation, and Communication Division, Office of Population and Reproductive Health, USAID, Washington, D.C.
  • LINDA J. WAITE, Lucy Flower Professor, Urban Sociology, University of Chicago, Chicago, Ill.
  • CAROLYN L. WEST, Senior Vice President, Public Finance, PNC Bank N.A., Washington, D.C.

All Trustees listed as of Sept. 30, 2015.
* Stanley Smith became Chair of the Board in October 2015 after Margaret Neuse rotated off the Board.


  • Executive Office
  • JEFFREY JORDAN, President and Chief Executive Officer
  • CANDI CARPENTER, Executive Assistant to President
  • KRISTEN CHELLIS, Program and Development Associate*
  • JUDI JACKSON, Human Resources Specialist
  • JOHN MAY, Visiting Scholar
  • THOMAS MERRICK, Visiting Scholar
  • ELAINE MURPHY, Visiting Scholar
  • Finance and Administration
  • JAMES E. SCOTT, Chief Financial and Operating Officer*
  • ADRIANNE DALE, Assistant Information Technology Specialist
  • JOHN DAVIS, Information Technology Specialist
  • DOTTIE FERRELL, Manager, Finance and Administration
  • AGNES HANNA, Accounting Associate, Finance/Human Resources*
  • SUE JENKINS, Senior Accounting Coordinator
  • KAITLIN KOETT, Program Assistant*
  • TRISHA MOSLIN, Program Financial Manager
  • CATREACH SAYLES, Administrative Assistant/Receptionist
  • Communications and Marketing
  • ELLEN CARNEVALE, Vice President*
  • PETER GOLDSTEIN, Vice President
  • TYJEN T. CONLEY, Web Communications Manager
  • ERICHA GUDMASTAD, Multimedia Producer*
  • MELINA KOLB, Multimedia Producer
  • ALISON PERCICH, Program Assistant
  • PAOLA SCOMMEGNA, Senior Writer/Editor
  • TESSA TRIPODI, Multimedia Designer
  • HEIDI WORLEY, Senior Writer/Editor
  • U.S. Programs
  • LINDA A. JACOBSEN, Vice President
  • RACHEL CORTES, Research Associate*
  • JEAN D'AMICO, Senior Research Associate
  • BETH JAROSZ, Research Associate
  • RENA LINDEN, Research Assistant
  • MARK MATHER, Associate Vice President
  • KELVIN M. POLLARD, Senior Demographer
  • ALICIA VANORMAN, Research Associate
  • International Programs
  • SUSAN RICH, Vice President, Global Partnerships
  • BARBARA SELIGMAN, Vice President, International Programs
  • KATE BELOHLAV, Policy Analyst
  • KRISTIN BIETSCH, Research Associate
  • JASON BREMNER, Associate Vice President, and Program Director, Population, Health, and Environment
  • HANNA CHRISTIANSON, Program Assistant
  • DONNA CLIFTON, Information Specialist
  • CHARLOTTE FELDMAN-JACOBS, Associate Vice President, and Program Director, Gender
  • SMITA GAITH, Policy Analyst
  • ELIZABETH GAY, Policy Analyst
  • KATE GILLES, Senior Policy Analyst
  • MAURA GRAFF, Policy Analyst*
  • LAILI IRANI, Senior Policy Analyst*
  • AASHA JACKSON, PRB Policy Fellow at the United States Agency for International Development
  • JESSICA KALI, Policy Analyst
  • TOSHIKO KANEDA, Senior Research Associate
  • STEPHANIE KIMOU, Policy Analyst
  • NICOLE LAGRONE, Program Assistant
  • CAROLYN LAMERE, Program Associate*
  • MARLENE LEE, Program Director, Academic Research and Relations
  • SHELLEY MEGQUIER, Policy Analyst
  • DEBORAH MESCE, Program Director, International Media Training
  • RESHMA NAIK, Senior Policy Analyst
  • ELIZABETH NEASON, Senior Program Director, Gender/Field Support
  • RICHAEL O’HAGAN, International Fellow at the United States Agency for International Development*
  • KRISTEN P. PATTERSON, Senior Policy Analyst
  • HEATHER RANDALL, Program Assistant*
  • FARZANEH ROUDI-FAHIMI, Program Director, Middle East & North Africa
  • ANGELINE SIPARO, Regional Advisor for East Africa
  • RHONDA R. SMITH, Associate Vice President
  • HOLLEY STEWART, Senior Policy Analyst
  • ANNEKA VAN SCOYOC, Communications Associate
  • ELLEN WEISS, Senior Communications Specialist
  • MARISSA PINE YEAKEY, Senior Policy Analyst

All staff listed as of Sept. 30, 2015.
* Resigned in FY2015.

Identifying New Health Challenges in Africa
A graphic from the NCD report shows how these diseases account for more than 25 percent of deaths in 80 percent of sub-Saharan countries.

PRB’s Toshiko Kaneda was in Nairobi in April 2015 to launch a groundbreaking report she wrote with colleague Reshma Naik on the growing threat of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in Africa. At the launch event, Kaneda delivered a hopeful message: “Africa's future does not need to be defined by an overwhelming noncommunicable disease burden."

NCDs such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic respiratory conditions, and diabetes are the leading causes of death in every part of the world except Africa. But based on current trends, Africa will join the rest by 2030, imposing significant additional burdens on a continent that is also projected to see its population double within the next generation.

The PRB report, the first comprehensive resource of its kind for Africa, focuses on NCD risk factors among youth and includes detailed country-level data for the prevalence of young people’s tobacco use, alcohol use, unhealthy diets, and insufficient exercise. The project received support from the AstraZeneca Young Health Programme.

The youth focus reflects the fact that behaviors established in early adolescence and young adulthood tend to stick and set the stage for NCDs later in life. The report included several recommendations for keeping young people on a healthier path, including: imposing taxes on cigarettes, alcohol, sodas, and other harmful products; involving young people, families, schools, and communities in addressing risks; and integrating NCD prevention with sexual and reproductive health programming for young people since the associated risk and protective factors for these overlap.

"This report provides critical data for governments, health authorities, universities, and NGOs, and we are delighted to have been able to support this work," said David Smith, AstraZeneca's executive vice president for global operations, speaking at the Nairobi launch. "Our hope is that it will be used to raise awareness, inform planning, and ultimately contribute to preventing the unhealthy behaviors by adolescents which, if not tackled, will lead to the predicted increase in the NCD burden in Africa."

Visualizing Data on Women’s Empowerment
The World Population Data website also makes data easily accessible on mobile devices.

Every year, PRB produces its signature World Population Data Sheet package as a go-to reference on key population, health, and environment statistics for all countries. For the 2015 edition, we made this information more accessible and compelling through creative use of digital mediums—video, infographics, and visualizations.

The result,, is a microsite with a wealth of information about general population trends and the Data Sheet’s theme of women’s empowerment. The site generated a substantial increase in online visitor traffic compared to the previous year’s package and received recognition from the global design community. For example, Visually’s widely read design blog tapped as one of the 24 best interactive websites of 2015, and it was a shortlisted finalist in Kantar’s Information is Beautiful contest.

Why did we focus on women’s empowerment? This is a top priority on the global development agenda. It features prominently in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and is recognized as critical to the alleviation of poverty and improvement of quality of life for all people, not just women. PRB also has deep expertise in this topic through our work managing the Interagency Gender Working Group and our thematic research on topics ranging from gender-based violence and child marriage, to gender mainstreaming and gender earnings gaps.

The microsite includes an animated video, “Measuring Up,” that assesses where women and girls stand in key measures of social progress. An interactive data dashboard allows users to select any country and view current and projected population figures as well as a range of gender-specific indicators comparing regional and world averages. The Insights section summarizes countries’ progress on women’s education, employment, and political representation targets that were included in the Millennium Development Goals, the precursors to the SDGs. And a series of graphics explore gender topics such as early marriage trends and financial inclusion of women.

Digital visualization is a hallmark of PRB’s work to bring data and research to life. Explore more examples on our multimedia page.

Measuring Risks to Girls and Women in the United States

Female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) is a traditional rite of passage in many cultures. But it is also a dangerous practice that can cause serious lifelong health and social problems. More than 3 million girls and women, the majority in sub-Saharan Africa, are at risk of being cut each year.

The practice is also a threat in the United States, despite laws forbidding it. FGM/C prevalence rates have held steady or declined in many African countries in recent years, but the number of women and girls at risk of FGM/C in the United States is expected to increase in the future, as foreign-born immigration from Africa increases. Between 2000 and 2013, the U.S. foreign-born population from Africa more than doubled, from 881,000 to 1.8 million.

PRB’s Mark Mather and Charlotte Feldman-Jacobs analyzed U.S. Census and other data and released an estimate in February 2015 showing that up to 507,000 girls and women in the United States today have either undergone or are at risk of FGM/C. This figure was more than twice the number of women and girls estimated to be at risk in 2000 (228,000) from a previous study conducted for the African Women’s Health Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

The PRB analysis generated significant press coverage and helped put FGM/C on U.S. policy radar screens. PRB staff were interviewed for feature stories by ABC News, Al Jazeera, The Guardian, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Reuters, and others. Mather also presented the findings at an informal U.S. Congressional briefing on the topic during August 2015.

The growing FGM/C numbers mean that U.S. health providers will be examining more patients who have undergone the procedure. Though some hospitals and health centers in the United States have created a culturally and linguistically competent environment for women with FGM/C, much remains to be done to meet the needs of this population. Often women with FGM/C receive poor-quality health care, creating an environment of distrust towards our health care system.

Training Researchers to Engage Policymakers
Participants of the U.S. Policy Communication Training Program meet with Congressional staff members at the U.S. Capitol.

Many researchers aspire to see their work inform policy discussions, but the path to doing so is not always clear. PRB’s training in policy communication strengthens the capacity of young researchers in doctoral-level population and health studies to engage policy influencers and decisionmakers effectively.

The training starts with an intensive skills-building summer workshop on the role of research in the policy process and techniques for effective communication of research findings. The workshop includes tips on making effective presentations to nonresearch audiences, using digital media to convey findings, and delivering a “60-second elevator pitch” when the media calls or time is tight. During the academic year following the workshop, PRB staff coach trainees as they write policy briefs.

PRB has conducted policy communication trainings for researchers from developing countries over four decades, primarily with funding from USAID. For the first time last year, an inaugural class of U.S.-focused doctoral students convened in mid-2015, thanks to new support from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

U.S. doctoral candidates are learning about policy communication and how the U.S. political system—primarily, Congress—hears about and uses research results. Training has been hands-on, including a visit to Capitol Hill to hear from Congressional staff about effective engagement.

“Sometimes it seems like academic research is published in an echo chamber, and I want work from my own discipline to matter more broadly,” said Connor Sheehan, a doctoral student at the Population Research Center and Department of Sociology at the University of Texas at Austin who is in the current training class. He’s interested in health care access, particularly among military veterans.

Another participant, Aresha Martinez-Cardoso, a Ph.D. candidate from the University of Michigan’s Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, said, “My research and work focuses on immigration policy and racial/ethnic health disparities, which can at times be controversial. So I really hope to be able to learn how to control my message and communicate my findings outside of academia.”

Making Sense of Data: The American Community Survey Data Users Group
The ACS Data Users Group community website is an online portal for information sharing.

In this digital age, the world is saturated with readily available data sources. More governments, businesses, and other institutions are adopting “open data” principles, adding to the volume.

But the data deluge also generates soaring demand from current and potential users for advice and assistance in understanding, analyzing, and applying new data resources—assistance that PRB’s technical staff is well-placed to provide.

PRB manages the American Community Survey (ACS) Data Users Group, in partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau. The ACS, conducted by the Census Bureau, provides a wealth of demographic, social, economic, and housing information annually for communities across the United States. The ACS Data Users Group facilitates learning and information sharing among members through an online community, webinars, and sessions at professional meetings.

PRB also organizes and leads an annual ACS Data Users Conference. The second of these took place in May 2015 in College Park, Maryland, and attracted more than 250 participants. Speakers included John H. Thompson, director of the U.S. Census Bureau, and Mark Doms, under secretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs.

The program included eight breakout sessions covering specific data use cases, such as tapping into ACS data on health insurance and disability. PRB also organized a preconference workshop for novice ACS users to provide hands-on training. After an overview of ACS data and the tools available for accessing them, the workshop participants tried their hand in three case study exercises.

Many who attended the annual conference are also members of the ACS Online Community, where the many discussion groups include Mapping ACS Data, Measuring Trends Over Time, and ACS News and Events. The online platform promotes information sharing among ACS data users and is a repository for recorded presentations from the ACS Data Users Conferences.

Creating Communities of Practice: The Demographic Dividend
PRB helped launch a new demographic dividend website at

Information is a global resource. To make it a global asset, those gathering and using information need convenient spaces to exchange ideas, pursue collaboration, and disseminate results.

PRB creates these spaces through its global communities of practice focused on priority themes in population, health, gender, and the environment. The communities are multidimensional: Through online hubs, trainings, data workshops, conference programs, and other methods, PRB fosters meaningful knowledge sharing and dialogue, and helps develop champions for policy change.

One community of practice focuses on the demographic dividend, which refers to the accelerated economic growth that may result when a rapid decline in a country’s fertility rate leads to an increase in the working-age population relative to the number of dependents. The right mix of policies needs to be in place to take advantage of such demographic changes—as occurred in several Asian countries in the mid-to-late 20th century.

With support from the David and Lucille Packard Foundation, PRB took two important steps in 2015 to facilitate global discussion and advocacy around the demographic dividend in Africa, where recent demographic trends hold promise:

  • A new demographic dividend website launched in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins University, to aggregate relevant research, resources, news, and country profiles.
  • A Regional Coordination Group, created in sub-Saharan Africa, comprising nearly 60 individuals, from 24 organizations, who focus on the issue and meet quarterly to share knowledge and experiences.

PRB also conducted country-specific research and capacity building in Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in collaboration with local partners. For example, in Ethiopia, PRB worked with the Ethiopian Economic Association (EEA) on research and produced a report in July, The Demographic Dividend: An Opportunity for Ethiopia’s Transformation, that was presented at the third National Population and Development conference in September. PRB is providing technical support to members of the EEA who are emerging as policy champions for the demographic dividend.

Moving the Policy Needle: Family Planning in Kenya
Angeline Siparo, PRB’s Regional Advisor for East Africa, International Programs, describes PRB's work in Kenya.

Around mid-2015, policymakers in Kenya's Embu and Bungoma counties approved firm budget commitments in the 2016 fiscal year for family planning. This marked success for PRB's work with local partners to bolster family planning policies in the country.

Kenyan elections in 2013 were the official launch of devolution to a 47-county system that tasked new county governors and assemblies with governance, financial management, and other functions. PRB, through USAID’s IDEA project, worked with the National Council for Population and Development (NCPD) in Kenya on targeted, decentralized family planning advocacy.

NCPD's county population coordinators identified local champions who supported family planning and had links to decisionmakers. NCPD staff and champions attended a PRB-led policy communication workshop to strengthen skills, learn about the county budgeting process, and develop county-specific advocacy plans. NCPD staff and the champions also used PRB’s ENGAGE multimedia presentations to help make the case for family planning in meetings with county decisionmakers.

Outcomes in Bungoma and Embu counties show that targeting the right decisionmakers from the beginning of the activity is central to success. Potential targets included county executives in health, finance and planning, gender and youth, as well as members of county health and budget committees, and the county health management team.

Beatrice Okundi, the coordinator in Embu County, said her most important jobs were to build relationships, provide relevant data, and show county leaders that family planning was a county-level issue. Okundi used new relationships to develop "buy-in to the idea of creating a budget line for family planning."

Localizing messages is also important. Shelley Megquier, PRB’s point person on this effort, said the approach of each advocacy team took a different shape in each county and "[coordinators] strategically chose specific arguments in support of family planning based on the cultural context of their county and the county's health indicators.”

Budget line items aren’t the end of the story. Work remains to translate commitments into action on the ground. But solidifying family planning’s place on the policy agenda is a vital first step in the process.

Strengthening Media to Impact Policy
Women’s Edition participant and freelance journalist Zofeen Ebrahim of Pakistan practices data visualization techniques with PRB’s Deborah Mesce, Program Director of International Media Training.

Media play a crucial role in informing the public about policy issues, providing evidence for policy decisionmaking, and holding governments accountable for policy commitments. For the past 25 years, through the USAID-funded Women’s Edition program and other initiatives, PRB has worked to strengthen the capacity of journalists to understand and cover population, health, and gender issues.

Our model includes convening workshops where journalists learn from subject matter experts, forming journalist networks for ongoing knowledge sharing, mentoring reporters, conducting study tours, and attending relevant conferences where the journalists produce stories about conference themes.

This year brought accolades for the work of alumni of PRB media activities. Members of the Health Journalists Network in Uganda won the Population Institute’s top Global Media Award for a 43-page special edition of the Health Digest analyzing Uganda’s reproductive health (RH) policy and highlighting improvements for women. PRB provided training and editorial guidance, along with dissemination to Ugandan government offices, health facilities, and RH advocates.

The special edition covered Uganda’s high maternal mortality rate, brain drain of health workers from the country, reasons many women do not use contraceptives, and implications of a rapidly growing population. Esther Nakkazi, founder of the Network, said, the edition “has remained a point of reference for many organizations, policymakers, and journalists” in Uganda.

Maimouna Gueye, a Senegalese journalist, won a Global Health Reporting award from the International Center for Journalists for a series of stories about high rates of teen pregnancy in the Ziguinchor region of southern Senegal, a “freestyle” method of natural childbirth, and reproductive health care among migrants in informal settlements in central Dakar.

“PRB helps us get access to sources of information and to communities. These are two fundamental things for journalists … and the people who live” in the communities, said Gueye, editor-in-chief of Senegal’s national daily, Le Soleil.

Addressing Malnutrition in Nigeria

Each year, malnutrition contributes to the deaths of more than 3 million children under the age of 5—or about half of child deaths globally. As a result of malnutrition, more than 160 million children under 5 are stunted, meaning they are shorter than normal for their age. A stunted child is unlikely to ever reach his or her full potential. Lack of adequate nutrition in first 1,000 days following conception also can cause irreversible damage to the child’s brain.

With support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, PRB’s RENEW project focused on strengthening commitments and resources toward the alleviation of malnutrition in pregnant women and children. In Nigeria, PRB collaborated with a multisectoral task force, headed by the Nutrition Division in the Department of Family Health of the Federal Ministry of Health, to produce a multimedia presentation entitled “Malnutrition: Nigeria’s Silent Crisis,” along with an accompanying package of informational materials.

In Nigeria, the multimedia presentation has been used by about 20 nutrition organizations and shown to an estimated 1,050 high-level government officials, medical officers, civil society partners, religious leaders, donors, academics, and journalists, to foster policy dialogue and advance policy actions. It has been featured in numerous policy venues, including a briefing with the minister of the National Planning Commission, a conference with the ministers of Health and Agriculture on nutrition-sensitive agriculture, a meeting with nutrition directors and permanent secretaries from 36 states to develop state-specific nutrition plans, and the revival of a Federal Capital Territory committee on food and nutrition in Abuja.

In addition, PRB’s RENEW team has strengthened local capacity by providing technical assistance to a Nigerian civil society organization (CSO), Scaling-Up Nutrition, that supports other local CSOs in the following states: Lagos, Kebbi, Akwa Ibom, Enugu, Benin, Adamawa, Kwara, Ogun, and Delta.